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Utah Jazz: Team wary of Chris Paul-led Clippers

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 1 2012 1:01 p.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz had so much fun entertaining the Los Angeles Clippers two weeks ago, they invited the Lob City high-fliers back to town for another game tonight.

The Jazz, 108-79 winners over the Clippers two weeks ago, certainly aren't expecting to have as easy of a time against Blake Griffin & Co. this time around, though.

Biggest reason: Chris Paul will play tonight.

That, the Jazz know, changes everything.

"Chris Paul would make my grandmother and all her sisters around him better. That's the type of player he is," Jazz center Al Jefferson joked. "He's just a special guy. He's a great point guard. He's one of the guys (who) likes to get other guys involved."

More from today's shootaround:

Jefferson's medicine has kicked in and he's planning on playing tonight despite being listed as a game-time decision. Usual starting shooting guard Raja Bell, however, will not go tonight or Thursday at Golden State due to his strained right adductor.

Small forward Josh Howard will start in Bell's place again, with Gordon Hayward moving to the shooting guard position.

Jefferson tested his ankle at practice Tuesday and went through the entire shootaround today. Inflammation and pain are both in check.

"The medicine is working and the ankle feel brand new," Big Al said. "I don't have no pain in it now."

Jefferson said if he keeps up on his meds, treatment and icing his ankle, the tendinitis shouldn't flare up again in the future.

Corbin on Howard starting: "I thought he did a good job (Monday). I thought Josh was a lot more patient. He let the game come to him. He was in the flow of the game very well."

Howard on Blake Griffin's dunk that nobody can stop talking about: "To see (Griffin) do that, it speaks a lot about his athleticism. I'm sorry to Kendrick Perkins for being on the under end of it." Howard said getting posterized is "part of the game." He even recalls getting dunked on big-time by former Utah star Keith Van Horn in 2006.

Griffin only had 10 points on 5-for-12 shooting in the Jazz's blowout win, thanks in part to the defense played by Utah power forward Paul Millsap.

"Keep them away from the basket; that's our main focus. Turn them into jump shooter," Millsap said. "We know it's going to be a little bit different tonight because they have guys like Chris Paul and Mo Williams setting them up."

Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin will wear a microphone for tonight's late ESPN game (8:30 p.m. MT start). "I have no reaction," he said. "Yes, I've been mic'd before. You're guarded a little bit."

Email: jody@desnews.com Twitter: DJJazzyJody

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